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2018 I HAS REVIEW – Q4

October 2018

  • Posts: 3 (Really? Just 3?)
  • Games: Magic The Gathering: Arena
  • Other Media:

October was my second lightest posting month and 3 in a month (along with the couple 5s I had earlier in the year) shows my inability to post consistently. Blogging is one of those things I love when I feel like I have something to talk about but struggle with when not – I would be a terrible place if I needed to have dependable, episodic content. October was about blahs and a general post, followed by a rentry into MTGA after the wipe (which I dreaded), and then an inspired post about an old gaming friend who I lost touch with – we were quite close, and he was suicidal near the end, and when we lost touch I worried about him. I still do from time to time.

In October 2017 I was playing Destiny 2 and Warframe

November 2018

  • Posts: 7
  • Games: Perfect World, Torchlight Frontiers, Breach, Magic The Gathering: Arena, Battlefield V, World of Warcraft, Fallout 76
  • Other Media:

In November I cleared out what was at the time, my last batch of Spring Cleaning blog posts drafts. It was a fun exercise. Checking recently, seems as though I may have another batch to do in 2019. We shall see. I had an Alpha based post on the 4-5 I was in at the time, as well as a great laugh at the bloopers from the Fallout 76 terrible launch (and the game continues to plague them, from what I am reading. I started playing (and being excited about) Battlefield 5(V) which I am still playing and being excited about. New free content update drops this week. I , along with many, many others groaned about the general boringness of Blizzcon this year.

In November 2017 I was playing Warframe

December 2018

  • Posts: 1 (FML)
  • Games: Slay the Spire
  • Other Media:

To be fair I had 3 weeks of vacation planned in December and that included a spill over into the first week of January – and two separate countries on two trips. Still, I didn’t put the effort in. My game of the year was Slay the Spire which my game of the year post neglected to mention (outside of the gameplay and screenshots). Never a dull moment here at IHASPC

In December 2017 I was playing EQ2, DDO, Warframe

Overall, not a bad year here statistics wise although I fell short of my 6 posts per month that I’d like to stick to. Good news is, heading into 2019 I have a lot to write about already and I only have two fears heading into February. The first is that with the upcoming Anthem launch IHASPC will become an Anthem blog for the foreseeable future. My other, bigger fear is that it will not – and Bioware will fade as my favorite gaming company.

Once again, thank you for reading, and here is to a happy, gaming filled, healthy, satisfying 2019!

I Win at RNG

I think most gamers have a love AND hate relationship when it comes to Random Number Generators.  The entire MMO genre is built upon RNG and I remember the old camping structures in EQ where you could spend hours, days, or weeks waiting for a specific mob and/or specific drop. We are largely playing large Casino style games in the background, with invisible dealers. Instead of leisure suits we dress as elves and orcs and wield swords instead of cigars, and beer glasses instead of shields. (Can you tell I was in Las Vegas two weeks ago?)

The Grumpy Elf talks about his recent spat of terrible luck and I agree with him on a lot of points about WoW. When I was playing WoW I most enjoyed it because I was able to advance my character through dungeon runs and grinds, doing activities that I personally enjoyed. Bad luck and RNG is an outcome for him that is causing a lot of frustration in his goal to advance and improve his in game character.

I have spoken the random nature of our games in the past, even talking about the Star Wars PnP game and how they introduced awesome random elements:

SW was played with all d6 – and on your rolls you always had to had an off colored dice. That dice was the “special” dice. We called it the fate dice. It may have officially have been called the ‘Force’ dice. I’m not sure. Its been 15 years. The crux of it? You rolled real bad on that dice, even if you rolled all 6’s on the others, and crazy things would happen. Crazy bad. It also worked in the reverse, where a good roll – on that one dice – would make amazingly incredible things happen. Out of the ordinary. At least, that is how I remember it

I have always been a fan of randomization for the ‘surprise’ effect it can have. Good or bad – when exceptional things happen is when good stories happen. Nothing truly great would happen if the outcome was always measured and expected. This lead to some awesome gaming and story moments in Blood Bowl – here is the outcome of the story (click on it if you want to read the whole thing):

Without going into too much level of detail, with a lot of luck and some well skilled players I won the game 4-1. At the end of the game, I only had 2 players left on the field that weren’t Injured or KO’d (KO’s happen for temporary out of game injuries. After the ball changes hands they get to roll to see if they come back in or stay down for another drive). He had all 11. Goes to show what you can do against a frustrated player who wasn’t used to the Movement and Dodge ability of the Wood Elf team.

With a little lot of luck, some skill, I was able to beat all odds. Try doing that in your Raid team if 3 healers go down.

In that article I was against the predictability of raids in WoW where if someone dies it is gameover. That design makes only predictable outcomes fun and leaves no room for unpredictability. Move X, mash Y buttons on sequence, rinse, repeat, win. Nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary can, or will, occur.

Love it or hate it RNG is here to stay and I believe games can be better built around that fact. If the systems are built to be supportive of RNG (and not make RNG an automatic failure state) it can make for great gaming memories. At the end of it all, those memories and experiences are what keeps us all gaming to begin with, right?

Last week I was at a NHL game and decided to support a charity event by buying  50/50 tickets. When I gave over my $20 (for 20 tickets) I didn’t for one moment actually believe I would win – who actually wins those things? What I believed is that I was supporting a Children’s Hospital and that the money would go to good use.

So yeah, that is me (in the middle) and I won. When I was reading the ticket I didn’t actually believe it at first! The girl (on my left) who sold me the ticket told me that after she sold me the tickets she turned to her friend and told her that “that guy was so nice – I really hope he wins for good karma!” and on my right is David Desharnais, #51 from the Montreal Canadiens. He was a really nice guy and I’m a big fan of the team so that was a nice bonus. So thankfully my credit cards will now be gone along with some other household debt. I will treat myself a little as I need a new set of goalie pads (I still play twice a week) which will cost me a couple thousand.

My point here isn’t to gloat in my good fortune, but to instead point out that I wasn’t playing to win – I was playing to support charity. Winning was just a very lucky, very random, very unexpected side effect of participating. If you focus on why you are playing more than the outcome of playing you may just find some happy surprises along the way.

Our games used to mean much the same way when they felt more like virtual worlds instead of the achievement based experiences we are left with today, but that is for another post.

The Grove at World’s End

Leonard Nimoy died on the weekend. I have fond memories of his art through TV, Movies, and games and many others have and will memorialize him much better than I ever could. I read his last tweet as I was following his passing and I found it absolutely beautiful – words to remember, and that is what I want to share here.

I have been really nostalgic this week. On one hand I have the realization that for all intensive purposes my life is half over – and that doesn’t make me sombre by any means – I have lived quite the life and am good at the fact that I probably have a good chunk more to. I start everyday with a smile, satisfied with the life I have lived and just try to be nice to people in general. You don’t have to wear a cape to be somebody’s hero, after all. Still, in moments of reflection and “why nots” coupled with my trip down nostalgia lane, sprinkled with Mr. Nimoy’s quote has me thinking.

I’m going to try and get the band back together. Figuratively, of course. We weren’t a band, but a guild. And by back together, I mean going to try and get people to log in for an evening to just say hi and catch up. Even for just one night. With EQ being free and the Testserver still alive and well that isn’t the hurdle – the hurdle is tracking everyone down. I have some emails, I have some last known whereabouts. I have friends of friends. I have the internet. The funny thing is I don’t even know if anyone cares but the guild is actually still in tact and it even has login dates and whatnot in the guild management window in game (patched, back in on the weekend). There is a setting for this.

The World’s End was a funny movie about a washed up guy that has been trying to get his old crew together years later to finish a pub crawl. I wish this event had this sort of ambition, but really, it doesn’t. It is just to get a bunch of people who were friend’s and guild mates at one point into an old game we used to enjoy. Some may not like the idea but at the end of it all, why not? It definitely won’t hurt anyone and at bare minimum if a handful show up and have fun then that is enough for me. I can relate to Gary King on everything except the washed up part *cough cough*.

While there is a setting I don’t have any sort of purpose or activity yet. The main goal at this point is to drive people to the old message boards. Find them, and get them in one place. Once we have a captive audience we’ll try to organize from there.

I already reached out to an old guild mate  based off an entirely old email I came across and got a positive response. The most fun part is that our boards are still up so we have a natural meeting place. Wish me luck, I’ll need it! I’m sure I’ll update here now and again on how it is going – if it goes at all. If you happen to know anyone who spent time on the EQ Testserver at EQ launch until early 2000s I’d appreciate it if you passed along this adventure – who knows, maybe they will know someone who was a part of The Grove at the time (or Primal Brood, which ended up taking on a good chunk of our members to take them raiding). It was a small enough community that there is a good chance they will know someone from The Grove at some point. Whether or not they can feed them to the board is a whole other challenge.

The link to our boards is here. There is a post in General about getting together. Anything anyone can do to help, it’s appreciated. We also aren’t against a time constraint either, so would appreciate any suggestions if anyone has done anything like this before.

River – High Latency Life

I am shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of one of our community members – Chris “River” Cavelle. Rivs authored High Latency Life and I personally thoroughly enjoyed interacting with him. I read him weekly and participated on his blog (and he here sometimes too.) He had an engaging style of blogging was quite firm in his opinions while being open to learning.

I never met Rivs in person but I still felt connected to him through our shared passion for blogging and the community that surrounds that. My thoughts are with his friends and family now. He is one of those guys that I always said “if I ever end up in his city, I’d invite him out for a beer”.

I am sad, and feel like I lost a friend.

I will miss him.